two peninsulas. one big playground.
As I write this, you might think I’m referring to our recent January thaw in Michigan. The sunny days were great — plenty of bluebird skiing days, which are always a boost for morale. But actually, the meltdown to which I refer is the triple meltdown that was experienced one day when I dared to take both boys (now 4.5 and 2) to the slopes, solo, dangerously close to nap time.
Meltdown number one was the 4.5 year old. He was upset because I couldn’t take him on the chairlift that day. I had explained to him prior that we had to stay in the learning area, since his two-year-old brother was with us and I couldn’t take both boys onto the chair. The lure of the chair and more exciting runs ruined any earlier reasoning I had provided — which is why the meltdown.
Meltdown number two was the two year old. It was concurrent with his older brother’s, leaving me at the base of the bunny slope with Christmas week crowds staring at me. Some gazed in disbelief. Clearly they had perfect children – or no children at all. Others looked on with the all-too-familiar “glad it’s not me this time” look. I tipped my hat in solitude to them with one hand, while wrestling one son and then the other with the other.
After getting both boys back to the car (we were at the bunny slope all of 20 minutes. Our commute to our car, parked in Timbuktu due to Christmas week crowds, was longer), that’s when meltdown number three happened – mommy. There were bonafide tears in the car and mutterings of, “Well, I’ll never try that again.” Eventually, we all calmed down and life was good again.
I joked a few days later with my sister that if nothing else, my failed attempt at a mommy-and-sons ski day would be good fodder for mittenkidz. All kidding aside, it was a good reality check. In spite of all my tips for starting a child skiing at a young age, as simple and magical as I might make it sound, in the end, we must remember that we’re working with children. And young ones at that. Two-year-old stubbornness will happen. Missing mittens will happen (I neglected to say that we were also down a mitten and a boot that day – found later under the seat in daddy’s car). And meltdowns will happen.
All I can say is be patient. In the end, your child will ski when he or she is ready to, and not before. If not this year, next – and that’s OK. Most important is to keep it fun and to, more than anything, instill a love for winter and snow. The rest will follow. As for us, a few days later we gave it another go, this time with daddy in tow too. After one run on the bunny slope, we took both boys to the chair and absolutely beamed when we realized that, for the first time ever, all four of us were on the chairlift together. It was the start of something good.